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Treating Plantar Fasciitis: Know Your Options

Plantar fasciitis (heel pain) is a musculoskeletal condition and one of the most common and painful foot problems today. It is mostly common in athletes, but it is rapidly affecting other people as well, especially those of the 40 – 70 yrs age bracket. This condition is brought about by the inflammation of the plantar fascia, the tissue that connects the heel bones to the toes (at the bottom of the foot). If you usually experience pain at the bottom of the foot with your first steps in the morning (or after a period of rest), you probably have this condition.

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that starts with slight discomfort and graduates to immobilizing pain if it is not addressed. As painful and uncomfortable as this condition is, there is good news: it can be treated. There are various treatment options available for all stages of the condition.

Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis

Treatment options are dependent on the causes of the pain, as well as the stage of the condition. Here are the most common causes of heel pain. 

Change in activity  Feet muscle overuse 
Weight gain Foot injuries
Poor arch support Tight foot muscles

Home Treatment Options

If you are experiencing the initial stages of plantar fasciitis (discomfort and slight pain), there are a few things you can do at home to address the condition before it gets worse. 

1. Rest

It is important to give your feet adequate rest. If you are in a job that requires prolonged walking or standing, you might need a few breaks to rest the feet. Additionally, avoid walking on hard surfaces for too long and try to limit the activities that bring about the discomfort or pain.

2. Lose Weight

Sudden weight gain exerts pressure on the foot muscles, leading to inflamed fascia muscles. You can relieve the pain by losing some weight.

3. Foot Exercises

Calf and fascia stretches have been commonly used to relieve heel pain. These stretches loosen the irritated muscles and tissues. Regular exercises significantly reduce the pain and help you enjoy your normal life.

4. Massage and Ice Packs

A good massage is welcome any day! You can get a professional foot massage, or ask a family member to help out. You can also roll your foot gently on a tennis ball for a few minutes. To curb inflammation, you can roll your foot on icepack or frozen water bottle for a few minutes instead of the tennis ball. Effects of the massage on heel pain can be amplified by acupuncture for faster heeling.

Advanced Treatment Options

If your heel pain is not simply a discomfort, you might need more advanced treatment options to help improve arch support and loosen cramped muscles. 

1. Proper Footwear and Custom Shoe Inserts

It is important to wear shoes that offer adequate arch support and shock protection so as to get the pressure off the fascia tissue. Before purchasing any shoes or inserts, it is important to see an orthopedic for a correct prescription. This is because you can aggravate the pain if you use the wrong insert that does not address your precise problem. You can get detailed information from this site.

2. Medication

Anti-inflammatory medication is necessary for advanced plantar fasciitis, and it is one of the most recommended non-surgical treatment options for heel pain that won’t go away with the home treatment options. Some of these medication include cortisone injections on the tender area to provide pain relief. However, take care not to get too many injections as the shots can rapture the fascia as well as shrink the fat padding on the heel.

3. Extracorporeal Shock Therapy

This is a simple procedure in which sound waves are directed to the aching area to stimulate the healing process. This is the recommended treatment option for chronic heel pain that doesn’t respond to any other treatment option. While shockwave therapy may cause swelling, numbness, bruises and tingling, it can be effective in some individuals.

4. Surgery

This is the absolutely last resort as it involved detaching the fascia tissue from the heel. It is only applicable if all other options fail. The surgical procedure may eliminate the pain, but it can result to weak foot arch.

Heel pain is a serious muscular condition that can cause immobility if not treated on time. Therefore, if you feel a tingling sensation, soreness, discomfort or even slight pain on your foot, it is important to consult an orthopedic. In most cases, plantar fasciitis can be controlled, so it is advisable to treat it as soon as the symptoms manifest.

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